Why limiting message forwards on WhatsApp won’t quite help curb spread of fake news
Facebook-owned chat messaging app WhatsApp has introduced a new feature to curb fake news.
Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp has introduced a new feature to curb fake news. It plans to limit the number of times a message can be forwarded to five users.
Earlier, people could forward a message to 20 users at a time. The feature was first launched in India in July 2018. It was introduced after many people were killed in a series of mob lynchings because of fake news reports that were forwarded on the platform in India.
Is WhatsApp’s decision to limit the number of message forwards to five going to help stop the spread of fake news?
1. Making a broadcast group or a normal group on WhatsApp allows users to add up to 256 people. And since we can only forward a message five times, the message can easily be forwarded to five groups or broadcast groups. This means a message can still be easily forwarded to 1,280 people.
2. The “end-to-end-encryption” feature allows users to keep their message private. But this has a downside to it. The company is not able to track people or groups who spread fake news as the messages they forward are encrypted. The company simply cannot see it.
3. Until now, WhatsApp has not disclosed whether the feature is successful or not. So, we don’t really know whether the feature will be really helpful in curbing fake news around the world or not.